Jordi Savall – Kalenda Maya

Dexter Duffy-Howard and Jordi Savall
Dexter Duffy-Howard and Jordi Savall

Rich, Dexter and I were privileged to see Jordi Savall and Hespèrion XXI again last night, this time as part of the York Early Music Festival, and broadcast live on BBC Radio 3’s Early Music Show.

Hespèrion XXI’s mesmerizing programme – Kalenda Maya, a dialogue of souls – began with the gorgeous piece, Alba, from thier 2006 collection, Orient-Occident. Right from the opening notes the six musicians created an amazing evocative soundscape.  The set of folias and dances from palaces and desert brought twelfth and thirteen century Spain’s fusion of music and cultures to life. Just for the evening I was there, in a past life, in the Castellón market surrounded by the hustle and bustle of people browsing stalls of spice, fruit, beautiful cloth; talking, smoking and looking up to the hills on the edge of the village. Dusty roads led us to verdant mountainsides, castles, banquets, dancers, and a bevy of troubadours, musicians and medieval instruments. We were immersed in a melting pot of cultures, North African, Byzantine, Mediterranean. Jordi’s stunning rebab bowing was spellbinding, and then, the plaintive and lonely singing sound of the Persian flute – the ney – came floating over from a minaret surrounded by early morning mist. The kanun brought lush waves of crescendo and such light-touch up beat rhythms that I really should have been dancing – not sitting on my chair. The duelling percussion break was a joy and at the end of the show, after a couple of standing ovations and encores we came back to the present day for Jordi’s gentle homage to peace and harmony for the Syrian people.

Rich took these photos, click on an image to enlarge

Last time we saw Jordi play – Les Voix Humaines at Salisbury International Arts Festival – Rich took some beautiful photos which have subsequently been published in the July edition of Poland’s Rich MwM MagMusic in the City Magazine – „Muzyka w Mieście”. We spoke to Jordi after the show, how lovely.

Hespèrion XXI : Jordi Savall – director, rebab, lira, Moslem Rahal – ney, Hakan Gungor – kanun, Dmitiri Psonis – santaur, moresca, Yurdal Tokan – oud, Fahrettin Yarkin – percussion.

Rich & Lou Duffy-Howard 2014 Visit our website 

Radio 3 Tweet Dex and Jordi


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